At least five hundred thousand volunteers from across the 774 local government areas of Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) are being prepared to assist the Nigeria Police Force for a community policing programme initiated by the Presidency in collaboration with the state governors.
This followed the proposal of the federal government and the 36 state governors to recruit the N-Power volunteers for the community policing to tackle the shortage of manpower in the police.
The Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) and Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, had after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari penultimate Friday, said plans were on to use N-power beneficiaries to kick-start community policing in the country.
Speaking on the community policing, the Senior Special Assistant to the president on job creation and youth employment, Mr. Afolabi Imoukhuede, said they had supplied data to the governors' forum and the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, on the volunteers.
He said two batches of the N-Power programme, numbering 500,000 scattered across the 774 local government areas of the country are ready for community policing.
“We are working with the governors because we have supplied the data to them and to the IG of police.
“We know the security challenges we have and we also know the challenges and limitations of the Nigeria Police Force, we know that they wanted to recruit another 10,000 but the governors felt as Chief Security Officers (CSOs) of their states, 10,000 in the whole of Nigeria is small and how many are you going to give every state?
“So they thought, we have N-Power volunteers that are community based, the beauty of this programme is that it is so transformational because they impact their community where they reside unlike the NYSC where you are yanked from your base and taken somewhere else.
“That’s the beauty of the N-Power that the governors saw. These are foot soldiers for community policing. There’s no state that has less than 10,000. Some even have more than that. Osun, for example has 17,000 and Abuja here; we have 14,000. So divide it into local governments,” he said.
He said the community policing proposal was an opportunity to engage the N-Power volunteers.
“That will now become an exit program. This is something that we have marketed to the governors and to the MDAs. “In the last three years or so, the federal government has been investing directly in lives, these people should be like ‘your right of first refusal’,” he said.
On when the community policing would be launched, he said, “we don’t have a date yet as the governors are still in discussions with the police command and other security agencies on the modalities.”
The breakdown of the volunteers, according to a document sighted by Daily Trust showed that Abia has 11,285; FCT 14,116; Adamawa 11,620; Akwa Ibom 12,278; Anambra 14,903; Bauchi 13,075, Bayelsa 10,561; Benue 18,000; Borno 12,766; Cross River 11,012; Delta 17,810; Ebonyi 10,561 and Edo 12,340.
Further breakdown showed that Ekiti has 10,563; Enugu 16,542; Gombe 10,909; Imo 12,394; Jigawa 11,365; Kaduna 18,000; Kano 18002; Katsina 13,313; Kebbi 10,559; Kogi 12,211; Kwara 13,154; Lagos 17,998 and Nasarawa State 12,504.
It revealed that Niger has 12,776; Ogun 15,563; Ondo 13,460; Osun 17,999; Oyo 18,001; Plateau 11,700, Rivers 17,987; Sokoto 10,903; Taraba 10,914; 11,296 and Zamfara has a total of 10,560 beneficiaries.
The presidential aide said monthly, the federal government spends N15 billion on the payment of allowances of the volunteers.
“For the batch one, they started earning from December 2016, we invested N72bn annually just for batch one, aside from the gadget that they got. Just even the direct investment in our people, N30,000 by 200,000, that’s N6 billion every month.
"Since August last year the wage bill has moved from N6 billion monthly to N15bn because they are now 500,000 volunteers. We don’t owe anyone and the money is paid directly to the beneficiaries, no third party,” he said.